Vent can be a force in Ebor

Ian Ogg takes an early look at the key statistics from the last 10 years for next week’s Ebor and Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.

Vent de Force could make a winning return to York

The last two renewals of the Betfred Ebor have produced winners with an official rating of 106.

Mutual Respect and Litigant are the two highest rated winners in the last decade and it’s evident that those towards the top of the handicap in this staying contest are, perhaps, no longer as inconvenienced as they once were.

The competition for places in the final line-up undoubtedly plays a significant part in this as it is so much harder for a less-exposed runner to sneak in at the bottom of the weights.

This is reflected by the weight carried by the last two winners with Litigant shouldering 9-1 and Mutual Regard 9-4 while their marks would have resulted in them carrying 9-8 in 2013.

As things stand, those with a rating of 106 will have to carry 9-7 this year which is more than any winner in the decade has carried and it could pay to look a little further down the handicap.

The Goodwood and Galway Festivals have proved a decent guide to finding the winner although last year’s scorer Litigant hadn’t been out since April although he is a notoriously fragile horse who isn’t the easiest to train.

Ivan Grozny was an easy winner at Galway and represents Willie Mullins who won this race in 2009 and who saddled the runner-up 12 months ago. Mullins has stated that he’s not worried about the ground but conditions were yielding at Galway and the Turtle Bowl gelding has never run on anything faster than good; he still has it to prove if the ground rides fast.

Quick conditions could also be an issue for fellow Galway winner Heartbreak City whose trainer said that ‘he doesn’t take much racing and he won’t be pulling out again too quick’. The six-year-old is significantly higher in the handicap than when winning over two miles here last summer but would be of obvious interest if lining up. Tony Martin did suffer a reverse last year though when his Quick Jack, entered again, could only finish 13th as the 5/1 joint-favourite.

This hasn’t been a great race for market leaders and current second favourite Antiquarium ran well over course and distance in the Melrose last season so has obvious appeal following his victory in the Northumberland Plate and it’s no surprise that Newcastle’s staying contest has thrown up a couple of winners of this race during this period.

Trainer Charlie Appleby has a strong hand with three other entries guaranteed a run should he so wish and last year’s Melrose winner Polarisation (a disappointing Dannyday among those behind) a little further down the handicap. Qewy holds a prominent position in the market after a good run behind Elidor at Goodwood but he has been narrowly beaten in handicaps on both runs since re-joining Godolphin which does raise some questions with a career strike rate of three wins in 22 starts.

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Desert Encounter has amassed more wins from just eight starts and the drop back to 12 furlongs appeared to be against him at Haydock last time. Currently 33 on the list, David Simcock will be hopeful of getting a run with his progressive four-year-old who seems versatile with regard to underfoot conditions.

At the same price, I’m interested in a runner who is guaranteed a run and who represents the most successful age group in this period.

Vent De Force didn’t show all that much in a Group Three on his seasonal reappearance but that does mean that his handicap mark has slipped a couple of pounds to 106.

As mentioned, he will carry more weight than ideal if lining up but Hughie Morrison’s five-year-old does have a touch of class and may get away with it.

A Group Three winner on quick ground last year when beating Trip To Paris, he was rated 109 after finishing second in the Group Two Sagaro Stakes last season but lost his way in the second half of the campaign.

His well-being has to be taken on trust but Morrison’s horses are running well at present and having fallen short in Pattern company last season, this race would appear to present an obvious target for the 2014 Melrose Stakes winner.

It could also be worth taking a chance with another course and distance winner in Shrewd who may be able to cope with an 11lb higher mark than for his Knavesmire success in June.

A top price of 25/1, Iain Jardine’s six-year-old has done nothing but improve since joining the yard last autumn and was by no means disgraced in a Listed race at York last time. He needs a few to come out but will be unlucky not to get a run and looks an ideal type for this race although he is another who won’t want conditions to ride too fast.

  • Winners have been aged four (2), five (5), six (2) and seven.
  • Winners have been rated between 88 and 106 with seven between 90 and 101.
  • Winners have carried between 8-4 and 9-4.
  • Eight winners have been drawn between 14 and 22; one in stall 10 and one in 12.
  • Winners have been priced between 7/2 and 100/1 with seven 20/1 or under
  • One favourite has won with a further five placed.
  • Eight winners either raced in midfield (1) or were held-up (7).
  • Seven winners had raced either in or since mid-July.
  • Four winners ran at the festivals at Galway (2) and Goodwood (3).
  • Eight winners had won a race during the current season.
  • All of the winners had won in a field size of double figures.

2008 renewal run at Newbury and not included

The leading trainer in the Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes is Sir Michael Stoute with seven winners and the Freemason Lodge handler has a strong hand in the 2016 renewal with both Across The Stars and Ulysses entered.

Both colts bounced back from disappointing runs in the Investec Derby to win their most recent starts and four winners in the past decade had contested the Epsom Classic.

Winning form on the preceding start has by no means been essential but a prominent showing in a Group race is desirable.

Aidan O’Brien has a typically strong-hand with 13 entries, including the current ante-post favourite Idaho who has not been out since running Harzand close in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

Winners have tended to be in action more recently than that but 2004 winner Rule Of Law had a similar profile having finished second at Epsom and fourth at the Curragh while Rewilding came straight to York from Epsom and Sea Moon took the rather more unusual route of winning a handicap in mid-June.

Idaho still only has a maiden win to his name but given his form at the top level, that can hardly be held against him. This is not a race that Aidan O’Brien has dominated though with the Ballydoyle handler responsible for just two winners which came in 2001 and 2003 although he did go close with Bondi Beach 12 months ago.

  • Winners have been priced between 5/4 and 28/1 with seven in single figures.
  • Three favourites have been successful with four more placed.
  • Winners have been rated between 103 and 118 .
  • Three winners were successful on their preceding start.
  • Seven winners had won a Group Three or a Listed contest
  • Winners had run between one and seven times during the current season.
  • Winners had had between two and nine career starts.

The 2008 renewal was run at Goodwood

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